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‘Frustrated’ Veljko Paunovic Takes Positives From Peterborough United Stalemate

This article is sponsored by the phrase “no comment”.

Peterborough United v Reading - Sky Bet Championship - Weston Homes Stadium Photo by Joe Giddens/PA Images via Getty Images

In what was one of the most important games of the season, Reading picked up a point in a 0-0 draw against relegation rivals Peterborough United. Three points were a must, but the Royals didn’t really show up. A few chances came our way but we failed to capitalise. Positives from the evening were few and far between but we have finally ended our losing streak and got our first clean sheet since October.

After what has been nothing short of a bizarre week for Reading, here is what manager Veljko Paunovic had to say. He spoke to the official club website, Reading Chronicle and Berkshire Live.

Paunovic on the game

“In very difficult conditions, in the first half we had difficulties getting the ball forward and into the final third. But as soon as we adapted to the conditions, we played a couple of better balls in behind and got into positions where we could have scored. And we won a couple of set pieces which were dangerous; Tom Ince’s free kick was the closest we came to a goal in the first half.

“In the second half, we had the advantage of the severe wind behind us. Unfortunately sometimes we rushed a little bit in trying to get into the final third. We should have linked up more, playing the ball side to side, so we could bring the ball better into the final third.

“But at the end of the game I think we had the chance of the match, Lucas Joao with some great play and a great opportunity. He was unlucky with his finish but that chance could have won us the three points.

“But overall, the team came together well, showed good patience, worked hard winning second balls. We got a clean sheet and we stopped the long streak of defeats.

“We are all frustrated here. But in the dressing room, we all felt we were close to getting the three points. We take that belief to Preston now.

“And what we need is unity, togetherness and support. Every game is a final for us.

“We have to recover the guys, support them, look to build on the unity they showed on the field – we played as a team and every single one of them gave their best. There were people bleeding, exhausted at the end. That tells you how much everyone cares.”

Paunovic on if this game was a must not lose

“We are disappointed we didn’t get all three points because we were close. We had the first clean sheet in a long time, that’s a positive. We want to build on that positive.”

Paunovic on whether he offered his resignation

“No comment.”

Paunovic on whether there was any truth in it?

“No comment.”

Paunovic on whether he was surprised by hostile reaction of fans post match?

“No comment.”

Paunovic on if he expects to be in charge v Preston?

“No comment.”

Paunovic on whether he is surprised to still be in charge?

“No comment.”

Paunovic on Yakou Meite

“We pushed and we pushed him maybe even further than we wanted given the circumstances but he did very well himself. He left the game very tired, but healthy.”

Paunovic on Josh Laurent

“He picked up an ankle injury in the last game. So he was out for this game, hopefully we can manage to bring him back on Saturday.”

Paunovic on the other injured players

“None of them (are close).”

Paunovic on Scott Dann

“Probably we are expecting him by the end of the month. We are hoping he is available for one of the last games of the season.”

Paunovic on Brandon Barker

“He was with us in training after he left Glasgow. And he did very well so we believe in what he can bring to the table. In some games like today, where he is very good one v one, he can penetrate the box, very good at linking up, he has a very good shot.

“So I think he can bring to the team something that we don’t have. He can stretch the lines with and without the ball. So I think that’s a positive - and in a game like today he could have helped us.”

Paunovic on if Barker will be available for Saturday

“Yes. We couldn’t get him in time for this game but for Saturday he is available.”

Paunovic on the atmosphere in the dressing room after the draw

“Better. There was a little bit of relief that we kept a clean sheet and I think we all felt we were close to getting the three points. So that gives the confidence back, the belief. And we have to work on top of that.”

Paunovic on the trip to Preston

“Every game is a final for us and we have to recover the guys, support them, look to build on the opportunity this evening. We played as a team, every single one of the players gave their best. People bleeding and exhausted which tells you how much everyone cares and gives their best.”

Paunovic’s message to the fans

“The team needs unity. The team needs togetherness and support.”